The New York Department of Environmental Conservation may hand over the management of Belleayre Mountain Ski Center to the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) as soon as this winter, the Plattsburgh Press-Republican reports today:
State agencies are still working out particulars, according to ORDA Board member Serge Lussi, who confirmed Tuesday that they are exploring a planned change of management for the Catskills ski center.
"It is not in this year's (ORDA) budget, but there is a possibility that ORDA will be operating Bellayre this winter," he said.
The newspaper even got the DEC to say that it is looking into the handover:
DEC spokesman Michael Bopp confirmed discussions have taken place.
"As part of the Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission review process, we have explored an operating agreement with ORDA similar to that which DEC has with Gore Mountain.
If the deal does happen, it would be the answer the prayers of many Belleayre fans (and employees). After a rally in December that protested DEC layoffs at the ski center, Joe Kelly of the Coalition to Save Belleayre told us that the way to fix Belleayre and save its jobs was to cut it loose:
"The DEC has demonstrated time after time that it does not know how to run a ski area," he said. "Belleayre needs a new entity to run the mountain. It should be in the business of business."